Mutilingual-current best approach

I came to FW because my site needed to be in 2 languages and the Master page solution seemed to help a lot with that, although in the end, I’ve made a Master for each language. (Would love to see a future version of FW with pages able to draw down items from more than one Master).

I may be building a new site from scratch and I’m wondering if there are better ways of dealing with multiple languages? For instance, would it be better in these days of Responsive sites, to have some kind of CMS with content negotiations or something?


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I would definitely recommend serving one set of pages (same URLs) with variable language depending on user preference. You can “guess” their preference from a browser user-agent string, but you should always show the user a choice, in case their browser is in a different country than their brain. Because I am arguing for one set of URLs (to make Google happy) this means that my recommendation requires a CMS of some sort.

It doesn’t have to be a full-on CMS with all your data in a database, but it does mean you need a server-side scripting language to interrogate the browser and cookies, and substitute the appropriate content.

Long ago, when I built the Softpress Web site (really long ago), I had separate content sections that I built up using PHP and Freeway-generated page “fragments”. Using the PHP Make Insert Page Action, I was able to strip off the head and HTML tags, leaving only the content of the body. This demanded a fairly rigorous approach to styles, so it’s not for everyone, but it allowed me complete control over the assembly of the pages, and let me use global navigation with one “smart” file, as well as other tricks. It let me thread static and dynamic content (from the store) into the same site, with consistent URLs throughout. Nowadays, I would probably just put all the content in a database, but the JavaScript content editing widgets are better now than they were in 2003. Using the static fragments approach meant that I could have highly-designed “only possible in Freeway” pages and a full content-management system without bending my brain too much.

Walter

On Jul 2, 2017, at 10:19 AM, grantsymon email@hidden wrote:

I came to FW because my site needed to be in 2 languages and the Master page solution seemed to help a lot with that, although in the end, I’ve made a Master for each language. (Would love to see a future version of FW with pages able to draw down items from more than one Master).

I may be building a new site from scratch and I’m wondering if there are better ways of dealing with multiple languages? For instance, would it be better in these days of Responsive sites, to have some kind of CMS with content negotiations or something?


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Some CMS provide a rather elegant solution to managing multi-lingual sites.

For example (this is just one possible scenario), if each language has its own registered domain they can be managed from a single CMS installation. Each one existing in it’s own self-contained “context” but still able to share resources like templates, media etc. And each site’s admin area will use whatever native language you specify.

That’s an extremely basic overview but you get the idea.

But if you’re looking for a simple point-n-click solution this isn’t it, I’ve only ever seen this level of configuration on the bigger CMS, although once configured it is extremely efficient to maintain.

Todd
QREATiv | https://qreativ.space
Chicago | 312 . 212 . 3955


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Thanks Walter.

Do CMS databases work in the same way as a normal relational database? In other words, you select a term in a match field which will then show everything related to that field. So choosing ‘English’ would mean that all the associated fields on the website would display content if their match-field had the term English in it? I’ve fiddled around with Filemaker for many many years, so I’m reasonably familiar with relational databases.


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Todd,

that sounds really complex to me, from a permissions point of view, but doubtless it is more straightforward than I might imagine. Does it work with different sub-domains or is there something intrinsic to have entirely separate domains?


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To what permissions are you referring?

I’ve only done it using separate domain names (mysite.fr, mysite.de,
mysite.com). But I see no reason why it wouldn’t work with sub-domains.
You just need to point each site “context” to a specific address.

Presumably using dedicated domains carries more SEO mojo and it does
seem to make more sense to me, but I’ll leave it to others to debate the
pros/cons.

Yes, it does require extra work to configure, and the first time can be
confusing, but whether that constitutes “complex” I don’t know. It’s
probably not as intimidating as it sounds but like I said it’s not
point-n-click.

Todd
QREATiv | https://qreativ.space
Chicago | 312 . 212 . 3955

grantsymon wrote:

Todd,

that sounds really complex to me, from a permissions point of view, but doubtless it is more straightforward than I might imagine. Does it work with different sub-domains or is there something intrinsic to have entirely separate domains?


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Todd,

I’m probably being a bit dumb about how this works. I’m thinking in terms of database permissions and a single web-page accessing several that are outside the website where it’s data resides. Thinking about it though … this happens all the time on the web.


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It can be a bit confusing.

I’m talking about “virtual” pages. The pages for all the different sites
exist in a single database in their own “context”. No actual site pages
(html files) exist on those domains like they do with a FW site. The
pages are assembled and “routed” (or mapped) to the appropriate domain
(or sub-domain) based on what the visitor is trying to access.

So you would install the CMS on one domain and that would effectively
act as the switchboard for all the other sites.

Todd
QREATiv | https://qreativ.space
Chicago | 312 . 212 . 3955

grantsymon wrote:

Todd,

I’m probably being a bit dumb about how this works. I’m thinking in terms of database permissions and a single web-page accessing several that are outside the website where it’s data resides. Thinking about it though … this happens all the time on the web.


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Also, if you’re dealing with a very small site then this approach is
overkill.

But if you’re dealing with multiple editors or a lot of sites (or just
large ones), or simply need a greater degree of control over everything
then that’s when something like this would justify the extra work.

Otherwise I would stick with a simpler solution.

Todd
QREATiv | https://qreativ.space
Chicago | 312 . 212 . 3955

Todd wrote:

It can be a bit confusing.

I’m talking about “virtual” pages. The pages for all the different
sites exist in a single database in their own “context”. No actual
site pages (html files) exist on those domains like they do with a FW
site. The pages are assembled and “routed” (or mapped) to the
appropriate domain (or sub-domain) based on what the visitor is trying
to access.

So you would install the CMS on one domain and that would effectively
act as the switchboard for all the other sites.

Todd
QREATiv | https://qreativ.space
Chicago | 312 . 212 . 3955

grantsymon wrote:

Todd,

I’m probably being a bit dumb about how this works. I’m thinking in
terms of database permissions and a single web-page accessing several
that are outside the website where it’s data resides. Thinking about
it though … this happens all the time on the web.


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